Monday, June 12, 2006

Anglo-Catholicism loses another good man . . . and another . . . and . . .

Anglo Catholics, particularly the Episcopal Diocese of Ft. Worth, have been bleeding good priests lately. The latest to leave is my friend, Taylor Marshall.

There’s been much discussion about these departures over at All Too Common, who decries these departures, and at Pontifications, whom I sometimes kid for seeing joining “the Barque of Peter” as the solution to everything.

My main contribution to the discussion is my sadness at the further losses to Anglo-Catholicism. And I don’t say that as an Anglo-Catholic. I’m not very Marian, and my soteriology is close to Calvin’s.

But I have come to not only love and appreciate traditional catholic worship, I have come to the point where I would consider its loss a great loss to the church as a whole. And I don’t see anyone upholding excellent traditional catholic worship like the Anglo-Catholics. This is a chief reason that I see the whole church being diminished when I see Anglo-Catholicism bleeding and shrinking.

When I pray for the Anglican branches of Christ’s church as I often do, my Anglo-Catholic friends and the right worship they preserve are frequently at the forefront of my thoughts.

I do understand those who feel compelled to leave. The Episcopal Church and much of the Anglican Communion has become an inhospitable place for Anglo-Catholics. And I understand the urge to be part of something bigger than an embattled enclave. And (Correct me if I’m wrong.) conservative Anglo-Catholics are actually closer in doctrine to Roman Catholics than to most Anglicans.

I hope somehow that Roman Catholic worship is enriched by converts from Anglo-Catholicism. But that’s a thin hope.

And the departures still sadden me.

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